In terms of the architect’s design process there could not have been a bigger discrepancy between method and matter. Whereas the method mostly depends on digital models, renders and Photoshop, the material outcome of that method – the matter – is anything but digital. The tangibility and tactility of the spaces we reside in appears to be the counterpart of our bodiless, digital world. In other words, the pre-planned plan of a space can give an impression of the visual outcome of a space yet it does not represent its material and tactile qualities or its atmosphere. How can we overcome this disparity between the digital process and the physical outcome of architecture?
In my work, I put emphasis on the physical and material aspects of a space. I perceive the architect as a maker – not just as a thinker – and I am fascinated by the ways in which architecture is defined by its embodied experience. Instead of working from method to matter, it is my intention to work with matter as the first and fundamental element within my design process. I start my design process with materialized spatial experiments and, from there, incorporate materials as the pivotal point within my architecture. Materiality occupies an important role within my design process, for I believe materials determine the atmosphere of a space, and is therefore often investigated on a scale of 1:1.
Within the realm of architecture, however, material experiments are not very common let alone material experiments on a 1:1 scale. Perhaps it is therefore that the act of recycling has not yet entered the field of architecture on a substantial scale. Existing buildings get demolished and the leftover materials are being carried away to make way for the new construction plan. These actions lack the power of reinterpretation and reuse. How come we do not re-read, re-understand and re-estimate an existing architectural context and propel from that point of view? In these times of material scarcity we should approach an existing building as if it were a box of raw materials.
A focus on material experiments within architecture can help narrow the gap between the digital process and physical outcome. It can also help to incorporate the act of recycling within the field of architecture. By (re)using the available material the creativity and inventiveness of the architect is exploited otherwise and a revaluation of our material heritage can emerge. Furthermore, taking material as the starting point for architecture asks for a hands-on mentality from the architect’s side, thereby shifting the position of the architect from visionary to actual maker. This is not to say that the use of a computer within the architectural process becomes redundant. Indeed, the computer can still serve as a supportive tool. The Matter as Method approach will let architecture express its material and tactile qualities to the fullest and create meaningful spaces in terms of mankind as well as nature’s well being.
It is not the translation of method to matter, but matter as method that will help me pursue my vision as an architect.
Floor Frings, founder and owner of Mato graduated cum laude from TU Eindhoven (MA Architecture) and received an Archiprix nomination for her graduation project Resensing Space. After her studies, she worked for several years at Open Architecture Office (OAO), became a member of Collaboration O and was a guest lecturer at both Design Academy Eindhoven and Hochschule Bochum.
In her work, Frings puts emphasis on the physical and the material aspects of a space. She perceives the architect as a maker – not just as a thinker – and is fascinated by the ways in which architecture is defined by its embodied experience. Materiality occupies an important role within her design process, for she believes materials determine the atmosphere, and is therefore often investigated on a scale of 1:1. Since the relationship to the body is so important within Frings’ design process, her oeuvre can be regarded a collection of physical events instead of mere designed spaces.
Floor Frings, oprichtster en eigenaresse van Mato, studeerde cum laude af aan de TU Eindhoven (MA Architectuur) en ontving een Archiprix nominatie voor haar afstudeerproject Resensing Space. Na haar studie werkte ze een aantal jaren bij Open Architecture Office (OAO), sloot ze zich aan bij Collaboration O en was ze gastdocent op zowel Design Academy Eindhoven als Hochschule Bochum.
In haar werk legt Frings de nadruk op het fysieke en materiële aspect van een ruimte. Ze ziet de architect niet alleen als (be)denker maar juist ook als maker en is gefascineerd door de manier waarop architectuur wordt gedefinieerd door de belichaamde ervaring. Volgens Frings wordt de atmosfeer van een ruimte voor een groot deel bepaald door diens materialen. Materialiteit speelt om die reden een belangrijke rol binnen haar ontwerpproces en wordt vaak op schaal 1:1 onderzocht. Omdat de relatie tot het lichaam zo belangrijk is in Frings’ ontwerpproces kan haar oeuvre worden aanschouwd als een collectie fysieke gebeurtenissen in plaats van louter ontworpen ruimtes.
The owner of a small, former harbour master’s house situated next to the Oosterschelde area said she missed the view on the watery landscape. A higher situated room or space was needed and came into being by means of a addtion on the roof construction. This wish for a ‘room with a view’ resulted a large additonalsimultaneous give th= and renovation of the rest of the house. The newly created space fits between the orginalwithin the rafters, adds light and air to both the old and the new space, adapts to the existing structure of the house, and allows the owner to look over the dikes. The roof construction can therefore be regarded a dock: a connection allowing humans to move between water and land. In search of the right detailing and materiality, this project is in collaboration with designer / cabinet-maker Rinze Born (who takes care of the staircase, closets and window frames).
Start construction: September 2017
In close collaboration with Jan Schevers from OAO (Open Architecture Office)
The Lucid annex is a ground-floor guesthouse commissioned by Jan and Marlène Westra. Over the course of time, the couple’s multi-layered residence did not match their personal needs. Thus, the simple yet very detailed garden house of over 90 square meters came into being. The wooden frame was produced by means of a CNC-milling technique, meaning that the structure was cut with such precision that the use of window frames became redundant. As a consequence, the minimal glass façade was created that enables the abundance of daylight to gently enter the elongated space. The combination of a high-tech production method and low-tech, pragmatic ingenuity resulted in a constructive aesthetic of the space. In more than one way, Jan Westra’s architectural body of thought resonates in the final design.
Jan Westra is the former dean of the faculty of engineering at TU Eindhoven and an architect himself.
The Schellensfabriek is an old textile factory that has long lost its original function. Therefore, a redevelopment was needed. The idea of an architect as a maker became a reality since the office was built self-handed. This resulted in a fun and dynamic construction process in which building itself became an ingredient of the architecture.
Resensing Spaceresearch by design
In what ways can the use of a computer within the architectural design process enrich or deplete the (sensorial) experience of a space? Resensing Space is an investigation into the discrepancy between the (3D or rendered) image of a space and its physical experience. By means of a survey, several students and professors from the Faculty of Architecture were asked about their opinions of a 3D-rendered image of a space. After the survey, the rendered space was built by making use of thin, white cardboard panels and the survey participants were invited to visit the actual space. Whilst the 3D rendered space was thought of as ‘very white’ and ‘sterile’, the actual space was described with words such as ‘serene’ and ‘calm’. The resilience and transience of the cardboard material truly defined the atmosphere of the designed space. It made clear that the component of materiality – a component that is very decisive in the physical experience of a space – remains absent in the digital sphere and is, therefore, in need of special attention during the architect’s (digital) design process.
Ratio 1:2extension + renovation
Ratio 1:2 is an existing house that needed to be made into two residencies. The rebuilding and renovation resulted in an LAT (Living Apart Together) situation for both the current and befriended future resident. The new resident, family of architect Jan de Jong, wanted to have her annex build in the spirit of her father’s architectural style. De Jong’s style was known for the ratio between mass and openness, the austere character, and the use of the so-called ‘plastic constant’. The plastic constant – a follow-up and expansion of the golden ratio – is an architectural ratio that involves a series of interrelated ratios. Mindful of De Jong’s heritage, a rhythmic interplay between heavy brick columns, white walls, concrete beams and the spatial distribution of light makes for an interlaced unity of the old and the new.
Entering Anatomyinstallation + exposition
Buildings are like bodies. The construction of a building can be regarded its skeleton, the exterior its skin, the rooms its guts, and the wires its veins. Entering Anatomy is a research project in which the relation between body and space is investigated. The first phase of the project was shown during Dutch Design Week 2016 and consisted of a skeleton made from construction stamps and wooden slats. By using the building materials as independent elements – without covering them up – new value is assigned to them. The construction material and the construction itself are no longer temporary or undesirable.
Cupboard 160 x 100 x 50 Reused and new mahogany wood
A mahogany wooden cupboard made for a client who moved from (South-)Africa to The Netherlands. The client owned a corner desk that did not fit into her new accommodation and therefore needed to be partly sawn off. These sawn off parts were used to make the cupboard’s upper shelf that now serves as a display for the client’s collection of souvenirs and memorabilia from the African continent. Today, the old desk as well as the new cupboard is situated in the client’s new office. Memorabilia combines the old and the new in both a material and immaterial manner.
Stoel in proza-vorm
Proza is een literatuurvorm die kunstig in elkaar gezet kan zijn, maar waarbij de vorm nooit overheersend of extreem is (in tegenstelling tot poëzie). Proza gaat veelal over het alledaagse, maar daarbinnen wordt wel gebruik gemaakt van het zetten van de klemtoon; oftewel, het benadrukken van een bepaald element of een detail.